There is no cure for narcolepsy but medication and lifestyle changes can control most of the symptoms so, that the person can live a normal life.
11 Lifestyle Changes For Narcolepsy
The lifestyle changes play a big role in this as the following changes can reduce the symptoms and improve your sleeping habits.
Maintain A Sleep Schedule. Have a regular sleep/wake up time every day even during the weekend follow this time schedule if you have narcolepsy. You can have few small naps during the day time but try to sleep more in the night than in the day time.
Take Small Naps. Even though you sleep well at night you might still feel very sleepy during the daytime and this might be affecting your work. The best way is to have scheduled small naps of 15-20 minutes spaced out throughout the day. But do not nave these naps closer to bedtime. These small naps can make you feel refreshed and energetic. Explain your condition to your work administration and try to have small naps during work time to increase work productivity. (1)
Good Sleep Environment. The environment of your room is important for a good sleep. Make sure your room is dark, quiet and cool, and sleep on a comfortable mattress. Avoid using electronic devices before going to bed.
Stay Active. Being seated for long periods can make you sleepy, therefore stand up, go for a walk, change your position or do some exercises from time to time. This will help you stay focus and alert.(1)
Do Regular Exercises. Regular exercises are important for good sleep in narcolepsy. When your body is tired the brain sends signals that the body needs rest, that way you will fall asleep easily. The exercises should not be very tiring or hard just the amount that will feel, you need rest. Do exercises at least 6 hours before sleeping time.(2)
Have Proper Meals. Having a nutritious diet is very important, try to have meals at regular times and do not skip meals at any time. Avoid having heavy meals at night as this can disturb sleep.(3)
Drink Water. Drinking water throughout the day is very important. Lack of water makes you tired, sleepy, reduce your concentration and disturb your sleep cycle.
Identify Your Triggers. What time of the day makes you feel sleepy? Do environmental factors play a role? When does cataplexy trigger? Is it when you are tired or when you are emotional? When you identify the trigger factors you can avoid those trigger factors.(1)
Get Support From Your Family, Friends And Seek Counseling. If you have severe narcolepsy with cataplexy attacks its best you do not live alone and you need help in doing some of your day to day activities especially driving. So, talk with your family members and friends about the condition, explain it to them and ask help from them. Counseling is also an important aspect of narcolepsy. Talk to a counselor or join a support group so, that you can discuss your issues with them.(1)
Try To Be Happy. Narcolepsy is just another disorder do not let it affect your life. Spend time with your family and friends; continue your hobbies, recreational activities. Do not give up on things try to cope up with everything. The important thing is your happiness.
Lifestyle changes are important to reduce narcolepsy symptoms and maintain a normal quality of life. Maintain a sleep schedule and adhere to it, have small naps during the daytime, have a good sleep environment, stay active and do regular exercises. Have a balanced diet, do not skip meals, have plenty of water and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Identify your trigger factors of narcolepsy and avoid them, get support from family, friends and seek counseling. Importantly, do not let narcolepsy take control over your life.